To have more hours added in one day is what people want. But how would it sound if you were able to get some free hours out of your significant time—like 20% of the workday—for focusing on responsibilities which really matter?
After studying how the knowledge workers could be utilized more productively, it was found that unimportant tasks would have to be delegated or eliminated and replaced with the ones which add value. Research shows that much time is spent by knowledge workers in the discretionary activities which offer a bit of personal satisfaction but could be competently managed by others. People keep on doing them as they instinctively cling with the tasks which make them feel busy while the bosses, striving constantly to do much with the less, heap on responsibility after responsibility on people.
It is believed there’s one way forward, though. Knowledge workers could make themselves much productive through thinking consciously regarding how they do spend the time; deciding that which tasks are of most significance to their organizations and themselves; dropping or outsourcing creatively the rest. This intervention was tried with fifteen executives in different companies. They were dramatically able to reduce the involvement in tasks of lower value: They do cut the desk work with average 6 hours in a week along with meeting time till 2 hours in a week. The benefits happened to be very clear.
While not everyone in our study was quite that successful, the results still astounded us. By simply asking knowledge workers to rethink and shift the balance of their work, we were able to help them free up nearly a fifth of their time.
Why Is It So Hard?
The knowledge workers do present real challenge for managers. Work which they do tends to be difficult for observing and quality is subjective frequently. A manager might suspect that any employee is using her time quite inefficiently though remain hard-pressed for diagnosing problem.
We interviewed Forty-five knowledge workers were interviewed in thirty-nine companies across 8 industries in Europe and United States to see that how they do spend their days. It was found that even most dedicated performers devoted huge amount of time for non-value-added and tedious activities like desk work as well as “managing across” organization.
Work That The Knowledge Workers Happen To Be Doing:
There’re many reasons due to which this happens. Many feel entangled within a commitments web from which it’s painful to have ourselves extricated ourselves: We do worry that we are letting our employers or colleagues down when we stop to do some specific tasks. Also, the less important tasks on mind aren’t totally without benefit. Having progress over any task—any inessential one even—increases feelings of satisfaction and engagement. Although meetings widely are derided as wastage of precious time, they do offer opportunities for socializing with coworkers. A respondent told, “I actually quite look forward to face-to-face meetings. A call is more efficient, but it’s a cold, lifeless medium.”
The organizations do share much blame for productivity that’s below optimal. The cost-cutting is prevalent over past decade, with knowledge workers, as most employees, had to just take on the tasks of low value—like making the travel arrangements—which divert their attention from important work. Though the business confidence tends to be rebounding, many of the companies are quite hesitant in adding back resources, especially administrative ones. What is more, the increasingly complicated environments as well as tighter systems of control in a lot of industries have pretty much contributed to have the corporate cultures risk-aversed which discourages the senior colleagues from ceding the work to some colleagues who are less seasoned. The consequences happen to be predictable.
A subject said,
“My team is understaffed and underskilled, so my calendar is a nightmare and I get pulled into many more meetings than I should.”